CINCINNATI -- Cubs ace Jake Arrieta secured the second no-hitter of his career in his 16-0 win over the Reds on Thursday with a routine play serving as the 27th and final out. Jason Heyward caught Eugenio Suarez's fly ball to right field to end the game and start the celebration.
"As soon as I turned around, I saw [Heyward] got a great bead on [it], just like he usually does," Arrieta said of Heyward.
Not every play was so simple. A couple of times, good defense preserved the no-hitter. Both instances came early in the game, when the chance he might make history seemed less obvious.
In the bottom of the third inning, with two outs, Zack Cozart sharply hit a ground ball near the line behind third base. Kris Bryant made a nice backhanded grab before zipping a two-hop throw to first base, where Anthony Rizzo made a nice pick for the third out.
"At that time you're not thinking about it," Bryant said. "I'll downplay it. It wasn't too tough of a play. We were on our toes, and he was throwing strikes. That's what [Arrieta] does, he goes out there and competes. It didn't look like he had his best stuff today, and he goes out there and throws a no-hitter. He's the best pitcher I've seen."
Said Rizzo: "It was a great play on K.B.'s part. Coming up there, getting rid of it and making a good, accurate, in the ground throw. I always tell the guys I can handle it in the ground."
Suarez led off the fourth inning with a walk with the Cubs leading, 5-0. On a 1-1 pitch to the next batter, Joey Votto, Suarez drifted too far off first base and was picked off by catcher David Ross. On the next pitch, Votto hit a sharp grounder between first and second base. Rizzo made a diving stop to his right and threw to Arrieta covering first base for the out.
"If Ross doesn't pick off the guy at first, Votto's ball is through the hole easily," Rizzo said. "There were a number of things that went well that usually do go well in no-hitters."
In the sixth inning, Arrieta induced an inning-ending double play by getting a ground ball to shortstop Addison Russell.
"Great defense by our guys," Ross said. "The double play by [Russell], that ball looked like a hit off the bat from my perspective. [Bryant] had a lot of action down there are third tonight. Riz made a great play in the hole, and then Dex had a lot of balls his way. When in doubt, put it in play -- we've got pretty good defense out there."